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Diet Soap Podcast #135: Occupying Dennis

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Diet Soap Podcast #135: Occupying Dennis




The guest this week is a regular. Dennis Perrin, author of Savage Mules and Mister Mike, returns to look back on the Late Capitalist moment of 2011, Walking like an Egyptian, and Occupy.

I want to thank Kwame A, and Christopher M for signing up to be regular subscriber/donors to the podcast and for signing up for the Diet Soap Philosophy Workshop. Next weekend at 130pm on Saturday the 25th I'll be hosting the first online workshop/lecture on Hegel's introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit. Right now there are eleven people subscribed to the workshop and it would be great to add a few more. People who sign up for the workshop will also receive a copy of my book Wave of Mutilation, and donors of 6 dollars in the US, or 15 out of country are also eligible for copies of that book of Pick Your Battle. Again, thanks to Kwame and Christopher and thanks to everyone who is listening.

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Here's an unrelated short essay:

Marxism and Gnosis

One problem for Marxism is knowledge and it is a problem that arises around any body of thought, description, or systemic critique of the world. In political terms the problem of knowledge can be expressed by the question "Who gets to be the one who knows?" Who gets to claim the possession of knowledge and what power is legitimated by the possession of this thing. If the knowledge isn't common knowledge the it can be used to justify the power of a few over the many. On the other hand, if only common knowledge is legitimate then critique must emerge spontaneously and all at once or not at all.

Zizek rejects Gnosis which he defines as a doctrine of the body rather than as a kind of real knowledge-- i.e the knowledge of the abstract.

"The most concise definition of Gnosticism is precisely that it is a kind of spiritualized materialism: its topic is not directly the higher, purely notional, reality, but a "higher" BODILY reality, a proto-reality of shadowy ghosts and undead entities├ó┬ŽOne is Tempted to Risk the hypothesis that it is precisely the psychoanalytic theory which was the first to touch on this key question: is not the Freudian eroticized body precisely the non-animalistic, non-biological body? Is not THIS (and not the animalistic) body the proper object of psychoanalysis? -Zizek, On Belief, pg 54-55

This is highly confusing unless one is willing to allow the confusion itself to stand in for the abstract, or the "Freudian eroticized body." And this is move to let confusion stand in for knowledge is obviously a mystification. Or, perhaps, the obviousness of the error is the mystification.

However, the ultimate lesson of cyberspace is an even more radical one: not only do we lose our immediate material body, but we learn that there never was such a body--our bodily self-experience was always already that of an imaginary constituted entity.- Ibid.


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